AMerican Veteran 10

Wilbur Eugene Tomlinson

December 20, 1932 ~ October 14, 2021 (age 88)


Mr. Wilbur Eugene Tomlinson, age 88, of Lake City, Florida died Thursday, Oct. 14, in the V.A. Medical Center, Lake City, Florida following an extended illness. Mr. Tomlinson was born in Lake City, Florida and entered the U.S. Navy and served 30 years before retiring with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. He then moved back to Lake City in 1967 and served in the law enforcement field with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department. He was a member of the Columbia Baptist Church of Lake City, Florida and a Navy veteran. I’m blessed with a special pre-school memory of my father’s shoulders. I remember I’m in our home in Whidby Island, Washington. I’m in the living room looking into the kitchen. There are at least two adult guests visiting with my parents and I’m looking up to see their faces. I can’t see what’s on the kitchen counter, much less what’s in the cabinets. But then my father picks me up and puts me on his shoulders. And what a difference! No longer am I looking at knees, or navigating through legs, or tugging at the hems of shirts to get someone’s attention. Now I’m looking down at the adults. Now I can see what’s on the counter tops. Now I can open cabinet doors. For crying out loud, I can even touch the ceiling! For a little while the world is smaller, not so scary, and within reach. For a little while I’m king of the world. For a little while my father’s shoulders make this possible.He’s gone now, but he left his shoulders; inarguably the greatest inheritance of all. And during the course of my life he taught me that shoulders are made for much more than childish fun and amusement. His shoulders taught me everything I needed to know about being a man. They taught me that commitments are forever, that work is a big part of who you are, and that love is something you do.They showed me that when you say you’re going to do something, you do it.  It doesn’t matter if you feel differently about things next week, or next year. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired or sick or bombarded by the trials of life. You live up to your commitments. This applies to everything in life, especially marriage and parenthood.They showed me that when a man has a job to do he doesn’t whine or complain about it, or consider the implications it may have on his feelings. The job needs to be done. Get it done. Your job is a gift from God. Do it with all your might. And they showed me that when it comes to love, talk is cheap. Love is something you live. It’s untiring and enduring. I’m certain my father hugged me when I needed a hug, but I don’t recall his ever kissing me. The closest he came was when I was a pre-schooler and he was tucking me into bed. He kissed his middle and index fingers and placed them on my forehead. But when older adults lose a father, I don’t think they sit around reminiscing about how well he or she kissed them good night. If they’re blessed, as I and my siblings were blessed, they think back on how the parent was always there for them. And that’s what I will always remember about my father. Throughout my life in this crazy, confused, tumultuous world I could ride on his shoulders. Bad people can stink up the world, but they can’t stink up my soul. They can’t keep me from praying and hoping and dreaming. They can’t change who I am. My father’s shoulders make that possible. And now they’re mine. I don’t carry them as well as he did, but I’m going to do my best. After all, my father taught me that a man is measured by his shoulders.  And my father measured up. I want him to know I can too. He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilbur and Ruby Pittman Tomlinson. He is survived by his wife, Melba R. Tomlinson of Lake City, Florida; one daughter, Sharon (Dennis) Hayes of Lake City, Florida; two sons, Daryl (Tina) Tomlinson and David Tomlinson both of Lake City, Florida; four grandchildren, Haley, Tyler, Lydia and Sage also survive. A graveside funeral service to honor the life of Mr. Tomlinson will be held at 4 P.M. Saturday, Oct. 16, in Bethlehem Cemetery, Highway 100, Lake City, Florida with Rev. Daryl Tomlinson, Pastor  of Columbia Baptist Church, officiating. GUERRY FUNERAL HOME, 2659 S.W. Main Blvd., Lake City, Florida is in charge of arrangements.

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Graveside Service
October 16, 2021

4:00 PM
Bethlehem Cemetery
SR 100
Lake City, FL 32055

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